Bohol town ordinance penalizes trouble-making drunkards

BOHOL, Philippines – Ahead of New Year's Eve festivities often marked by drinking sprees, officials of Trinidad town in this province passed an ordinance that penalizes drunkards who cause trouble to others and damage property. 

The Sangguniang Bayan ordinance, approved by Trinidad Mayor Judith del Rosario-Cajes, was enacted to promote public health and to "discipline people who are habitual drunkards and who cause detrimental act to public morale and safety."

The "Anti-Drunkenness in the Municipality of Trinidad, Bohol" ordinance took effect this week.

Under the ordinance, a person could be deemed guilty of violating the local legislation "if he appears in any place manifestly under the influence of liquor, alcoholic beverage or narcotic drugs to the degree that he/she endanger himself/herself or other persons or property or annoy persons in his/her vicinity and has caused trouble."

Listed in the ordinance as alcoholic or intoxicating substances are beer, whisky, brandy, gin, rum, vodka, "other kinds of foreign wines," and homegrown drinks such as tuba (coconut wine), lambanog (Philippine coconut vodka), bahalina (aged coconut wine), basi (fermented beverage made from sugarcane), and "other intoxicating concoctions."

The local legislation lists as narcotic drugs methamphetamine (shabu), opium, morphine and heroin, which "blunt the senses" when used "constantly."

First-time violators will be slapped with a P500-fine and 5-day jail time. A second offense carries a P1,000-fine and 10 days in jail, while for 3rd and subsequent offenses, violators will be meted a P2,500-fine plus 15 days in jail. 

All offenders will shoulder any damage to property due their drunken behavior, according to the ordinance authored by Trinidad Councilors Victoriano Dellosa, Antonino Cajes, Segundo Dungog, and Vidal Cajes.

The mayor, through the local police, and village chiefs of the town's 20 barangays, through their tanod or watchmen, are designated as the enforcement authorities in Trinidad town, located 94 kilometers northeast of the capital city of Tagbilaran.

The problem of drunkenness in the country has been addressed in other measures by the national government.

Republic Act No. 10586, signed by then President Benigno Aquino III on May 27, 2013, penalizes persons driving under the influence of alcohol, dangerous drugs, and "other similar substances."

Under Article 15 of the Revised Penal Code, intoxication is considered either a mitigating or an aggravating as alternative circumstances in the commission of a crime.

In September last year, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and 10 other representatives co-authored a House bill that seeks more stringent punishment for drunk and drugged driving. –